We all have that vegan friend. Maybe you are that vegan friend. Vegan, gluten and lactose-free diets are the way of life for many humans. But have you ever met a vegan dog?
If you’re curious about the nutritional viability of vegan, gluten and lactose-free diets for dogs, you’ve come to the right blog post. At Bone & Biscuit, your pet’s nutrition is in our best interest. We’re passionate about helping people solve all their pet’s needs. Let’s take a look at your options!
A Good Option for Dogs?: Yes!
Just as some people avoid gluten because of an allergy, sensitivity, or health condition, dogs around the world are already eating gluten-free for the same reasons. What is gluten? It’s a protein that’s found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten-free and grain-free are often used synonymously but there are types of grain like quinoa that don’t contain any gluten, so not all gluten-free products are also grain-free.
In the wild, dogs aren’t known to eat a lot of grains, so a gluten-free diet is almost always a safe choice for your dogs. Many dogs can actually have health problems that can be inflated due to heavy grain content diets. If your dog suffers from hot spots, gas, digestion problems, itchy skin, or ear infections than a grain-free diet that is also low in carbohydrates may be the solution to their problems.
At Bone & Biscuit, we carry many gluten and grain-free options. We take pride in choosing only the highest quality brands and products to carry in our stores, that will also meet different budget points. If you’re looking for some great gluten-free options for your dog we recommend:
This product contains 96% meat, bone, and organs and offers a low carb diet. Ziwi Peak is also great for picky eaters can be used as treats or a topper to add a higher nutritional element to an existing food.
Now Fresh is one of the only products on the market that offers 100% market fresh meat or fish. It also offers multi-proteins in one diet, without the use of chicken.
A Good Option for Dogs?: Yes!
If you’re lactose intolerant and living a dairy-free life you might be wondering if it’s safe for your dog to follow the same path. Most dog food brands do not include dairy ingredients, so unless you feed your dog cheesy treats or ice cream they might already be living a lactose-free life. And that’s totally safe and healthy for your dog. Dogs, even more so than their human counterparts, can experience lactose intolerance, as they produce less lactase after their puppy stage. If you notice they experience gas, discomfort, diarrhea or vomiting when exposed to dairy they are most likely lactose intolerant.
Some dairy products contain more lactose than others. We recommend staying away from high lactose products like milk for all dogs. But other products like cheese or yogurt have lower levels of lactose and can be safe in small quantities. Better yet, if you want your dog to experience the benefit of a probiotic in a fun treat, there are many different options that won’t likely trigger a reaction.
Raw kefir and raw goats milk offer a very yummy and beneficial treat to your dog’s diet. Due to the raw nature of these products, they are rich the lactase enzyme, therefore, decreasing the chances of intolerance symptoms. More pet owners are discovering the health benefits of these products for their pets and having fun creating yummy frozen recipes!
A Good Option for Dogs?: Maybe
The debate is out on whether domestic dogs are carnivores or omnivores. Things like mouth and teeth shape, Gastrointestinal system, GI tract length, and even behaviour are all contributing characteristics that segment animals into the carnivore, herbivore, or omnivore category.
A large part of the argument for the raw food diet, aka the BARF diet (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food), is that dogs are carnivores and raw foods: mostly meats, bones, and organs are the most appropriate food for your dog. It’s true that dogs descended from wolves, who are most definitely carnivores, and still share many characteristics as them to this day. Their teeth are sharp and pointed, best for tearing meat, and they chomp rather than chew because their jaws only move up and down and not side to side.
The flip side of this argument is that while dogs do descend from wolves, that was thousands of years ago and they have since adapted to be able to tolerate more omnivorous diets. Their intestines are able to break down and digest carbohydrates properly. After all, domestic dogs have been eating high levels of carbs in the dog food we feed them and surviving for decades.
The thing to keep in mind when considering going meat-free with your dog is that they still require high levels of protein in their diet. While protein can be found in plants and meat, the two protein sources are quite different. Animal-based protein contains a wider array of amino acids than plant-based proteins, which are essential to your dog’s health.
Very careful research, planning, and testing measures should be taken to ensure your dog’s safety with this diet. We highly recommend consulting with a vet or professional dog nutritionist first. It may be possible for dogs to be maintained on a vegan or vegetarian diet, but it does not mean it is the most appropriate and beneficial diet for your dog.
Our advice when it comes to vegan and vegetarian diets is that your dog’s health should always come first, even above our moral judgments. Better yet, find a food manufacturer that prides itself on humane and ethical sourcing, therefore, providing the appropriate diet for your dog and feeling better about it at the same time. So is this diet a good option for dogs? Maybe, if done very carefully. But, is it the best option?
Good Options vs. The Best Option: Our Top Recommended Diet for Dogs
Gluten-free, Vegan/vegetarian, Lactose-free, Keto, Paleo, the list goes on when it comes to different diet options for humans. These diets are a way of life for many humans but we must keep in mind that most of these diets were designed by humans for humans, and not for dogs. At Bone & Biscuit, we believe the best option for your dog is a diet designed specifically for them.
In most cases, we recommend a raw food diet. If you’d like to learn more about the raw food diet or to discuss what foods can meet the nutritional needs of your dog, come talk to us at Bone & Biscuit.
ARTICLE SUBMITTED BY BONE & BISCUIT HAMILTON
Bone & Biscuit Hamilton is a family owned and operated business located on 105-2172 Rymal Rd. East. Hamilton, Ontario.
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